Are you one of the many small business owners who now have a path out of lockdown?
New dates and specific guidelines are giving many the clarity and the green light they need to resume trading (very soon if not now). You have a lot to think about and a lot to do. (And you know we’ve had a real thing here at Lucy & Emma about getting ready and prepared for recovery.)
But we’re hearing the same couple of fears and worries from lots of different people right now, and we want to address those right here – because the good news is you can take those fears, be proactive and and turn them into a business advantage, with just some careful and creative messaging.
“No one will need me any more!”
We’ve heard so many people worrying that people have had to get on and do stuff themselves – and now they know they can do it, they’ll want to save their money and carry on their DIY approach.
This got us thinking, we will admit. Because who hasn’t been seriously impressed by the resourcefulness and hidden talents they’ve seen on their social media feeds?
Who knew our friends could groom and clip their dog without it refusing to leave the house for a walk of shame…or cut their partner’s hair…make a pretty decent lime and chilli fried chicken (complete with a certain restaurant logo drawn in biro on an old paper napkin)?
And what about those of us who have discovered that actually we don’t mind the grey hairs so much after all…made peace with our own nails and (can’t believe I’m saying this) naturally mad eyebrows? Has lockdown proven that all the services we thought we needed to outsource aren’t the awful chores we imagined them to be, after all?
And are we really going to rush back out to eat / drink / watch films / learn new things / meet friends now that we’ve proven how much we can do at home and online?
Hell, yes. Yes, we are.
And we think there are at least three reasons why:
We won’t have time, when life gets back to normal. When we buy-in services or outsource chores, it’s not often we do so thinking: “I don’t know how to do this myself”. What we’re often really thinking is “I haven’t got time to do this myself”.
Lockdown didn’t just force us to do those things for ourselves; it also gave (many of) us more time to do them.
But as working / normal life resumes, those things will fall of our to-do lists just as easily as they did before.
We will crave connection more than ever before. Meeting a friend for a coffee and a big fat chunk of cake is going to mean more than it ever did. Physical ways to mark an occasion, celebrate, or just simply get together will be crucial, and we’ll be beating a path to our local eateries, coffee shops, art houses and all sorts of lovely places.
We won’t actually want to keep doing those things. Simple as that. Yes, we learned to do things because we had to; well done us! But we didn’t do them particularly well or with any great joy and, if anything, lockdown has shown us just how very expert YOU are!
And as soon as we can put our pets, hair, celebration meals and a million other things in your talented hands, we will beat a path to your door. That thing you make seem so easy…well, now we know it jolly well isn’t.
So, your huge opportunity right now is to speak to each of those desires in your messaging. Make sure that when people read your content, they feel like you understand them. Remind them how very much they are looking forward to seeing you back in business. Remind them you are an expert and they are in safe hands.
“People will hate coming to my business now – there will be so many restrictions changing their customer experience!”
First of all, stop and ask yourself why your customers come to you. The product or service you sell will only be part of the story…they’re really coming for how that product or service makes them feel.
Remember that the value you think you give may not be the same as the value your customer thinks they get…read more about this here.
The chances are that however much they enjoy their experience with you, your customers are more bothered about the outcome anyway. So just remember to talk to their measure of value in your communications.
But more importantly, all those restrictions you’re worried about are actually the assurances your customers badly need – and you can turn this burden into a huge selling advantage by getting your messaging really strong on this.
Again, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Even better, get inside their mind.
For a while at least, being out and about is going to feel scary. Anxiety levels will be higher than usual. People will see and feel risk in the most straightforward of places and tasks.
This is why they will be pleased, not irritated, to see the constraints and precautions you have in place. Creating physical distance and safe movement, limiting contact with people and with surfaces, putting in new sanitising protocols – all these things are actually safeguards, not inconveniences. In these unusual times, they will actually improve the customer experience.
Be overt about these safeguards in your content and your communications.
(And certainly don’t apologise for them! Frame your communication positively, and that will influence how your customers feel about their experience with you.) Show your customers and visitors that visiting you is safe, and that their wellbeing is at the heart of how you are doing business now.
It’s also a great reason to ramp up your contact with your email list or your content on social media. Let people know what you are doing to keep them safe and well, to encourage them back, and help them visualise the changes (if appropriate) so that everything feels more comfortable when they walk through your doors.
Of course, communication doesn’t end there. You could point out the ways you’re protecting your customers while at your premises, and find ways to communicate their safety at different points. (Who knew a safety sign or a cleaning timesheet would ever be a truly positive thing. Strange times indeed.)
So, if you’re worrying that people won’t want to come back, or that government guidelines will diminish your customer experience, worry no more. With some clever messaging, these things can give you great hooks for positive content, and really work to your advantage.
It’s all in the way you communicate. (As it usually is.)
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Until next time, stay safe and well.
Lucy & Emma xx